First things first, this is not a new E-type Jaguar, it is according to Jaguar, a “sustainable sports car of the future”, that just happens to take more than a few visual cues from the 1960’s icon. The car itself is Jaguars C-X16 concept, a lightly disguised production ready road car, that Jaguar hopes, will take on the might of the Porsche 911 in the coming few years.
The second thing to point out is that the C-X16 is not a replacement for the XK, it is a whole new car that will slot into Jag’s line up. Whereas the XK is unashamedly a Grand Tourer designed for eloping across Europe, the new car is designed to be an out and out sports car ready to scare the bejesus out of you.
Jaguar over recent years have become quite handy when it comes to wielding a design pencil, the XF, XJ and XK have all replaced their rather dated looking predecessors, rescuing the brand from the brink of financial meltdown. The C-X16 looks fit to continue this rebranding and I feel a closer look at it is required to understand its beauty and uncanny resemblance to the aforementioned E-Type. From side on the car has that typical long nose, short rear profile of the iconic coupe. It also features a gently sloping glass hatch that’s not all too dissimilar from the coupe E-type. That glass hatch leads down to the thin horizontal rear lights, which wrap around both sides of the car, stopping just before and above the rear wheels. At the bottom of the sculpted rear bumper sits a rather purposeful looking rear diffuser housing quad upswept exhausts at either side. From the front the C-X16 look’s equally as good. Its swept back headlights and wide open grill make it look ever so slightly like the animal after which the company takes its name. From every angle the car looks fast, its bonnet bulges, with little air scoops on either side give it a 70’s muscle car feel, and hint at the supercharged engine beneath, which funnily enough is the next part of the car that I feel needs exploring.
Engine wise, the C-X16 features a not too shabby, all new supercharged 3 litre V6. However, the C-X16 is an experimental hybrid, which means it’s got an electric motor too! Total power equates to 380bhp from the engine and 95bhp from the electric motor. It uses the electric motor in the same way as the KERS system in an F1 car, meaning that you can press a big shiny button to release a boost of power to get past any particularly slow moving traffic. Thanks to this instant torque of the electric motor, coupled to the V6, 0-62mph is dealt with in 4.4 seconds and top speed is limited to an adequately illegal 186mph. Despite the turn of speed, the icing on the cake for all this hybrid’ness is a city car rivalling mpg of 41 and low C02 emissions for a car of this class at 165g/km. Finally, what this also means is that the car can run on pure electric power at, according to Jaguar, up to 50mph. Pretty clever stuff I’m sure you’ll agree, but it doesn’t stop there. The car also features the obligatory stop/start system and electric regeneration to recharge itself. All the power and techy bits are hooked up to the rear wheels through Jaguars new 8 speed auto box with manual override, which has just debuted in the 2.2 diesel XF.
Inside the C-X16’s very red interior there is an abundance of clever gadgetry, which hints at what sort of things Jags of the future will offer. There is a plug which can be used for connecting numerous types of smartphone, the touchscreen display in the centre consul then changes to reflect the specific phones layout. It then allows you to use the phones functions through the cars screen. Very clever stuff although totally useless if you still use a Nokia 3310. Having a touchscreen in the centre means that the need for masses of buttons is no longer, this gives the cabin a simple uncluttered and elegant appearance. The only major controls left, are the beautifully crafted aluminium heater knobs, gear selector and steering wheel of course.
Although this car is still officially a concept, the amount of real world technology, viable engine and performance figures, suggest it will become a production ready car before 2012 is done. It is likely to make a welcome addition to Jaguars line up and put more than just a worried thought into Porsche and Aston’s bosses’ heads, as this car will be major competition for the new 911 and now dated V8 Vantage. Although Jaguar insists it is not a new E-Type there are definitely some visual cues to the classic, which is in no means a bad thing. However Jag doesn’t need to worry, the C-X16 is definitely a unique, modern, sports car of the future.